Managing the Fear of Weight Gain: Practical Tips for a Healthier Mindset

Managing the Fear of Weight Gain

Many persons recovering from an eating disorder experience anxiety, panic, and overwhelm when thinking about weight changes, particularly the fear of weight gain. 

Acknowledging and overcoming the anxiety of the fear of gaining weight (also known as obesephobia) in eating disorder treatment can be a tough but crucial step toward full recovery.

To combat this anxiety, we’ll talk about why weight restoration is important in overcoming an eating disorder, some of the problems it presents, and practical ways to conquer it.  

Let’s go a little further into the dread of weight growth, as well as some information and tactics to help you avoid becoming trapped in it.

Tips in Managing the Fear of Weight Gain

Whatever your concerns about weight increase are, your desire to lose pounds and be in charge of weight is natural.

You’ve probably tried multiple times to change or manage your physique and/or weight, only to find yourself back at square one. Or you’ve spent a lot of time and energy trying to lose weight only to be consumed by food thoughts and stressed out about eating perfectly. 

Perhaps you’ve begun to let go of dietary habits and some diet rules, but you’re having difficulty escaping the shadows of some scary diets. Is this correct? If so, you may have questioned yourself, “Where do I go from here?”

Please know that you are not alone if you are afraid.

There’s no way to predict whether your weight will rise, fall, or remain constant during your recovery journey. However, it is not as simple as you might think.

Eating more does not inherently increase your body fat storage. This is due to the fact that body weight determinants are multifactorial and involve metabolism, genetics, stress, and environmental factors. It’s not as straightforward as “calories in, calories out.”

Recognize that you are not alone.

Gaining weight is one of the most common concerns among people who use a non-diet strategy. When we recognize that we are all experiencing the same fear, we may work together to find a solution.

Free yourself from your weight loss goal and focus on the journey.

worried woman sitting on a tree

Eating disorders thrive on food control, and for many people, the desire to be small and the fear of regaining weight can be a major barrier to effective recovery.

Having a weight loss objective, regardless of your present body weight or shape, is not helpful to healing. If losing weight or improving your look is the eating disorder’s first objective, it means that your health comes second (and it should always come first).

Determine the source of your anxiety.

On the outside, it appears to be a phobia of gaining weight. However, it is the beliefs associated with gaining weight that cause the fear. Not the weight that you gain per se.

What is the tale you tell yourselves about your weight gain? Does this imply that you have failed? Do you think this renders you less attractive/’healthy”/desirable?

Carolyn Costin compares body image work to a check-engine light. Switching off the light (weight loss) does not address the underlying problem. We need to peek behind the hood to figure out where the problems are coming from.

Make room for fear by engaging in discussion with it.

What does it say to you? What is the fear attempting to protect you from? Can you identify any signs that the concern is unfounded?

For example: Do you worry that gaining weight will make you unlikable? You may put this to the test. Would you want someone less simply because of their physique size?

Put your eating disorder beliefs to the test.

There’s no doubting that disorders of eating are complicated, but the detrimental beliefs that the eating disorder imposes on itself (such as “I’ll be happier? loved?”) are all taught beliefs.

You weren’t predisposed to hating your body, understanding what a calorie was, or putting a monetary value on a number on a scale.

eating sushu

Toxic beliefs can be questioned and unlearned, and healthy ones can take their place. You can always revert to your eating problem behaviors, so what do you have to lose by trying something new?

Suck it up!

This will not be an easy task.  You’re destroying a lifetime’s worth of messaging about your body. Recognize that the fear is difficult. Fear has a way of sucking you in. This is fine.

Validate everything about increasing weight that hurts and causes your life more difficulty.  Feel your feelings about the discrimination that you may have experienced as a result of your body.  Your fear is genuine.

Maintain your dedication to learning.

Concerning obesephobia, body positivity, and all the intersections associated with body image work. Recognize it as a nonlinear process in which you can always learn and grow.

Return to your “why”

To keep moving progress in recovery, you can’t rely exclusively on inspiration. Returning to WHY you chose (and still choose) recovery, on the other hand, can be a significant tool in engaging with life outside of thoughts and anxieties about weight and body shape.

Don’t squander 95% of your existence attempting to lose 5% of your weight.

Change your perspective.

By addressing your eating disorder-driven attitudes and beliefs, you can transform how you perceive your body. Instead of declaring, “I’ve put on too much weight,” try thinking, “I’m regaining the weight I shouldn’t have shed” or “I’m taking my life back.”

plus-sized owman looking at her self in the mirror

You may not accept it initially, but persevere. By changing your perspective, you may be able to better understand your body as well as what it can accomplish for you.

Concentrating on your positive characteristics, abilities, and capabilities will help you embrace yourself no matter how your body appears or how much weight you have. Concentrating on the good characteristics that reflect your core self may assist you in thinking past what’s displayed on the scale.


Replace the negative looping thoughts with the positive. And repeat. Over time, this will ingrain healthy eating habits into your brain, and take the place of the endless stalking of health blogs and diet calorie counting.

Grasping at every new diet like a drowning man grabs for a lifeline, on the other hand, is not a healthy way to change your lifestyle. If you have been stuck in that rut for a while, maybe it’s time to try a different approach.

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